Charles Wesley Foster, deceased, who was one of the public-spirited citizens of Page county, honored and respected wherever known but most of all where best known, was born May 19, 1833, in Canton, Fulton county, Illinois, where he acquired his education in the public schools. At the age of fifteen years he went to Peoria to learn the tinner’s trade and there remained for four years. When nineteen years of age he went to Abingdon, Illinois, and conducted the first hardware and tin store in that place. Four years later he removed to Bushnell, Illinois, where he also became the pioneer hardware merchant. It was during that period of his life that he was married on the 22nd of November, 1855 to Miss Elizabeth A. Latimer, of Abingdon, whose death occurred on the 2d of April, 1857.
In the following month Mr. Foster removed to Clarinda, Iowa, and here opened a dry-goods store, which he conducted for two years. On the 1st of December 1859, he was married to Miss Ann L. Alden, who was born and reared in Ohio. They became the parents of four children Mary, the wife of John N. Miller: Julia, the wife of Herbert H. Scott; Harriett; and Annie, the wife of Alfred B. Loranz. All are yet residing in Clarinda.
It was in the spring of 186o that Mr. Foster removed with his family to Tarkio township, where he engaged in farming for several years, but in 1864 the place of his residence was changed to Nevada, Ohio, where he again engaged in the hardware business but the charm of the west was potent and in 1865 he yielded to it, locating in Galva, Illinois, where he continued until 1867. In that year he again came to Page county and purchased a farm in Nebraska township, which was his home until 1872, when Mr. Foster came to Clarinda to form one of the firm of Collins & Thompson. At the end of a year, however, he withdrew from that firm and returned to the farm in Nebraska township, on which lie resided until January 15, 1876. At that time he became a member of the hardware firm of Dunlap, Miller & Foster, of Clarinda, and for many years thereafter was closely associated with business interests of the city. In 1886 he joined William Butler in establishing the Bank of Newmarket in Taylor county, Iowa, where he conducted a banking business for eight years, his family home during that period remaining in Clarinda. The firm of Foster & Abbott was formed in October, 1892, for the purpose of conducting a mercantile enterprise in Clarinda and when Mr. Foster’s health failed two years later he retired permanently from active business.
Mr. Foster was always public-spirited and worked unceasingly for the welfare of Clarinda and vicinity, withholding his cooperation and support from no measure or movement which he deemed of value to the community at large. He was deeply interested in agricultural matters and was for several years president of the County Agricultural Society, while in other official ways he promoted its interests during its most flourishing period. During the time he was a member of the city council of Clarinda he was active in securing grounds for park purposes and was probably the originator in the city in establishing the city park, that now bears his name, and planned the arrangement of the trees it contains. For almost six years he was mayor of Clarinda and was serving in that capacity at the time of his death, which occurred on December 26, 1904. His administration was characterized by several valuable restrictive and regulative measures as well as large constructive work and that he received public endorsement of his course was indicated in the fact of his reelection.